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To wonder if my tenant should have told me..

185 replies

MatildaTheCat · 14/07/2015 15:09

I'm a nice landlord, I promise. I have one very small flat local to where I live. It is 45m Sq. approx. one bedroom 10' 10' ( sorry to mix up metric and imperial) and another 7'x10' max. Living room again 11x11' max. No space to eat in the kitchen.My tenant is a young mum with two young dc aged approx 5 and 3 ish. One boy and one girl. They have bunks in the smaller bedroom. Her rent is covered by HB although she has refused to have them pay me direct and has on occasion paid late. Very late at the start of the tenancy.

She looks after my property well and I do regular inspections. I am aware that she has a cat although I've never seen it and it as against the agreement.

So, today I am due to go round to do an inspection and get a text putting me off because ' In April I discovered I was five months pregnant and the baby is now due in a month and I have to go for a check up.' I can't explain how much I cannot imagine how she will manage to live in such a cramped flat with three small dc. and all. The kit of a newborn.Perhaps I am naiave and this is normal. I'm thinking that with benefit caps now she won't get help to get a bigger place? It's a very expensive area and her dc are very lucky to be in a great school literally just over the road.

Should she have contacted me to explain her new situation? Is it none of my business? Am I right to feel concerned? I feel a heartsink situation coming on....

Thoughts much appreciated.

OP posts:

19lottie82 · 14/07/2015 15:12

YABU, it is none of your business. Why do you think it should be?


Theas18 · 14/07/2015 15:12

I guess it's up to her how she manages in small flat. If you are paid and the property is kept in a reasonable state.

Newborns don't actually need a huge kit - in most of the world they have very few possessions.


Earlybird · 14/07/2015 15:12

What, exactly, are you concerned about?


bearchomp · 14/07/2015 15:14

If she pays on time, keeps the flat clean and doesn't cause you any bother then it's not really anything more to do with you. Don't worry yourself about it.


CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 14/07/2015 15:15

Presumably at some point she would have had to let you know because her tenancy agreement doesn't include three children, only two, but I don't think that she should have told you that she is pregnant


Pantone363 · 14/07/2015 15:15

No, why should she tell you?

The council wouldn't pay you directly unless there are extenuating circumstances.


LaurieFairyCake · 14/07/2015 15:16

God, it's really crap. No wonder you're worried about her.

It's dreadful that there is so little housing stock that she is forced to live in your very small flat.


Pantone363 · 14/07/2015 15:16

Tenancy agreement doesn't name specific people. My kids aren't on mine


thesaurusgirl · 14/07/2015 15:17

It's none of your business, I'm afraid. It only becomes your business if there's a second adult who is living in the property but not on your tenancy agreement, as it will invalidate your landlord insurance. There must be a man on the scene if she's pregnant but if he doesn't live in the flat he's not affecting the rental contract in any way.

When does the current contract come to an end? You will still need to give two months' notice served on a rent day for her to move out, and if she's on benefits she will probably need to be evicted as she won't be rehoused until she is.

I'd let sleeping dogs lie but step up the inspections so you can be sure the overcrowding is not making the flat unsafe (and so you can satisfy yourself that the baby's father hasn't moved in).


Artandco · 14/07/2015 15:17

I think it's fine if she pays , it's up to her surely.

We live in a one bed with two children and have done since they were newborn. Newborn ' kit' is a marketing ploy. We didn't own any. Nappies, drawer full of clothes, a sling.


itaintmebabe · 14/07/2015 15:18

YABVU, non of your business


Earlybird · 14/07/2015 15:19

Does she have a dp? Does he live in the flat also?


TheHouseOnBellSt · 14/07/2015 15:19

I live in a Housing Association flat op. I am also a great tenant. Do you think I should tell the council if I decide to have another baby?


OnlyLovers · 14/07/2015 15:21

None of your beeswax.


DownstairsMixUp · 14/07/2015 15:21

Agree, none of your business. I have a good relationship with my landlord, have lived here four and a half years, but didn't even tell him till I had my second ds and he was 4 months old, and it just popped up in conversation. He wasn't really in my list of people to tell when I had him. I pay my rent on time, that's all that should concern him.


LazyLouLou · 14/07/2015 15:22

But it is your business if she continues to stall your access for a condition review. These are your regal right (and an extremely sensible thing to do regularly for both and lord and tenant).

Ask her to give you a few dates/times she could give you access prior to her giving birth so that you can leave her alone to settle the new child in. As for how will they fit... sorry, not (yet) your problem.


19lottie82 · 14/07/2015 15:24

But it is your business if she continues to stall your access for a condition review. These are your regal right

Nope. A landlord does not have a right to "inspect" their property.

The only legal right they have to enter is in the even of an emergency which needs addressed. Fire, flood, gas leak ect.


TheHouseOnBellSt · 14/07/2015 15:28

Lottie is correct and I have looked into this recently. Only in an emergency such as a flood or similar does a LL have a right to enter a property.


MatildaTheCat · 14/07/2015 15:30

Actually her children are named on the tenancy agreement. And as I said, I am only asking if she should have mentioned this to me. We have a friendly relationship and I am not against children living there. It is extremely difficult in this area to get private rentals on HB.

My area of concern is that due to benefit caps she may struggle to pay her rent. Also, if the property is overcrowded it becomes more liable to damp issues which we have worked very hard to eradicate ( and spent a small fortune on).

Anyway, the consensus seems to be that it is none of my business Hmm. I will have a chat with her tomorrow to see what she feels about staying. The tenancy agreement has been extended for twelve months with two months notice on either side.

OP posts:

thesaurusgirl · 14/07/2015 15:30

A landlord doesn't the "right" to enter a tenant's home without permission, but they do have the right to enter if they reasonably suspect a fire risk (which is what overcrowding can be). You'd find it hard to convince the police the landlord or his / her agent was harassing a tenant in those circumstances, particularly if they were given advance notice and the opportunity to re-arrange the appointment to a more convenient time.


OrangeVase · 14/07/2015 15:31

OK this is tricky.

First, absolutely none of your business that she is pregnant.

Once the baby is born, however, she has to tell you as the tenancy agreement would only cover her for two children I think.

Personally I would be more than a little concerned. Reasons:
You don't get the HB paid direct - and she has been late paying.
She will have increased costs with a new baby.
She is pregnant so probably in a relationship although claiming benefits as a single mother - there may be repercussions there.
There are limits to how many people can live in a small flat.

I sense that she is not being honest - about the cat for a start.

Maybe discuss it with her


TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle · 14/07/2015 15:31

You are entitled not to like it, and you are entitled to give notice and not to renew the contract when it ends. If she has a cat and it's specifically against the terms of the contract then you can probably serve we notice sooner. This would make you a bit of an arsehole seeing as she's about to have a baby. If you're happy with the state of the flat, I'd be inclined to leave well enough alone.


MatildaTheCat · 14/07/2015 15:31

Sorry, more posts. Quarterly LL inspections are specified on the TA. I learned that the hard way after last tenant left property in awful condition.

OP posts:

19lottie82 · 14/07/2015 15:32

The tenancy agreement has been extended for twelve months with two months notice on either side

OP, you do know that you can't legally insist on 2 months notice from your tenant, right?

Legally, they must give a minimum of 1 month, while you have to give two (on, or from the next rental payment date).


LaLyra · 14/07/2015 15:33

None of your business imo. Also if she discovered in April that she was five months gone then I imagine she's had a lot to get her head around in the past couple of months.

Her kids are young, they can easily share for another 3/4 years minimum, the baby will be in with her for 6 months and could be for a year/18 months. After that she could either have the baby in with the other two if she gives them the bigger room or perhaps even herself in the lounge on a sofa bed if she feels the children need two rooms. It won't be ideal, but it is more than manageable.

It's only anything to do with you if she unreasonably prevents you doing an inspection at a later date or if she stops looking after the flat or stops paying rent.

I only know that my tenants have had a baby recently because her niece is friends with my DD.

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